It has been an interesting week in the Android TV world. By interesting, we are not talking about the typical arrival of a new Android TV app or update or even the arrival of a new Android TV-related product. By interesting, we are talking about a great week for speculation and now it is time for some more.
Towards the beginning of this week, a report began to emerge that Target had dropped the price of the Nexus Player. While this is a device which has consistently been seeing price-drops in and around the internet, this was no ordinary price-drop, as the initial reports detailed that the Nexus Player was available as a 'Clearance item' for only $24.99. Now this could be an isolated or limited store making a decision to clear some stock or damaged boxes. However the initial few reports quickly turned into multiple reports with more and more people taking to social media confirming that they were able to pick up a Nexus Player at their local Target store for only $24.99. As such, it seemed officially (as much as it could be without an announcement) that the Nexus Player had become a clearance item at Target. This instantly led to the speculation that maybe the Nexus Player was being discontinued. Of course, still nothing official has come through on this and the Google Store is still listing the Nexus Player as available.
Well, yesterday, the ASUS Chairman, Jonney Shih, was talking part in an interview with Trusted Reviews and as part of their coverage an interesting report came through about the Nexus 7. The coverage detailed that Shih hinted ASUS and Google had been thinking about the possibility of a third-gen Nexus 7. During the interview, Shih makes a number of statements and one of them was that ASUS and Google are currently working on a "number of products" together. Now, while the bulk of the coverage (including ours) focused on what this means for the Nexus 7, a 'number of products' is very telling. ASUS is the manufacturer who made the first-gen Nexus Player and Google does seem to like continually working with certain manufacturers, LG being a prime example. And as such, it does seem to stand to reason that ASUS and Google are currently in the process of working on the next-gen Nexus Player. If they have already been in discussion about the Nexus 7, then there seems to be some clear logic that Google and ASUS equally must have at least conversed about the possibility of a follow-up Nexus Player. It just makes sense.
The good news for those who would like to see a new Nexus Player, is that when talking about the evolution of the Nexus 7 and the possibility of the a third generation device, Shih did make it clear that their focus is on the end-user and that their hardest decision has been on how to improve the Nexus 7 user experience. Using the same logic, it also stands to reason that ASUS and Google will be taking the same approach to the Nexus Player. This was a device which received much criticism for lacking in features and simply being too basic. So, it could be safe to assume that if a new Nexus Player from ASUS is in development, it will be one which comes with the improvements the Android TV community would like to see. Shih did note that the second gen Nexus 7 did place an emphasis on upping the resolution, if ASUS takes the same approach with the Nexus Player, then we are more than likely looking at a 4K supported box.
Of course, this is all speculation at the moment, but as Shih stated in the interview, "Stay tuned".